top of page

ACONA Fellows 2023-2024


Maureen Ahmed

Senior Foreign Affairs Officer, U.S. Department of State

Maureen Ahmed is a Senior Foreign Affairs Officer at the U.S. Department of State, where she has advised U.S. senior officials on foreign policy and national security for over 7 years. She has spent over a decade leading democratic renewal, human rights, global health, and gender initiatives globally, and has worked in 4 continents to advance Sub-Saharan, Balkans, Indo-Pacific, and South and Central Asian bilateral priorities. Maureen holds a Master of Public Administration in International Policy and Management from New York University Wagner School of Public Service and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Gender Studies from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She has previously served as a Fellow for the: American Council on Germany, Pacific Forum, Foreign Policy for America, Truman National Security Project, and National Endowment for Democracy. She also completed the North Korea Program at George Washington University’s Institute for Korean Studies and the Indo-Pacific Orientation Program at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies.

ACONA Fellowship Term: July 2023 to June 2024

Vanda Czifra_edited.jpg

Vanda Czifra

Deputy Director, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Vanda Czifra is Deputy Director at the Swedish MFA, where she is currently responsible for bilateral relations with the USA, focusing on foreign, security and defence policy. As a member of the Swedish Foreign Service since 2011, Vanda has been serving in various roles focusing on matters related to international security. Her tours have included the Permanent Delegation of Sweden to the OSCE, the Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU, and the Embassy of Sweden in Warsaw. Vanda holds a Master of International Affairs degree from SIPA of Columbia University and master’s degrees from Uppsala University.

ACONA Fellowship Term: July 2023 to June 2024


Rut Einarsdóttir

Chair, Icelandic Human Rights Association

Rut Einarsdóttir works as an independent consultant on feminist issues and disarmament, as well as currently pursuing a Master’s degree in International Affairs at the University of Iceland. Rut holds a BBA in Economics and Innovation from Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan and is a Chevening fellow at SOAS University in London. Rut has extensive experience working on social issues, both in Iceland and abroad. For over a decade, Rut has been involved in various human rights work globally and has significant experience in international advocacy. She is the former Secretary General of the Icelandic Women's Rights Association and Vice Chair of the Icelandic Human Rights Association. She is a previous member of the Advisory Council on Youth to the Council of Europe, and has worked with a number of UN agencies. She has also campaigned for greater involvement of women in security issues and led the series "Feminist Leadership in Disarmament" through the disarmament organisation she worked for in London

ACONA Fellowship Term: July 2023 to June 2024

UN Headshot.png

Jeremy Faust

Attaché, Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations

Jeremy Faust serves as an Attaché with the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN in New York. He holds a Master of Arts in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS), and a Master of Arts in International Relations from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). Jeremy previously served as a Graduate Research Assistant at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, where he has published a book chapter on the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives and a monograph on US efforts to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

ACONA Fellowship Term: July 2023 to June 2024

Valeriia-for official use 2023 Compressed.jpg

Valeriia Hesse

Non-Resident Fellow, Odesa Center for Nonproliferation (OdCNP)

Valeriia Hesse is a researcher at the Odesa Center for Nonproliferation and a consultant at Open Nuclear Network and Atomic Reporters. She has experience as a visiting researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, a consultant at the World Institute for Nuclear Security, and an intern at IAEA Department of Safeguards and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC. Valeriia is a Fulbright scholar. She obtained her Master’s degree in Nonproliferation and International Security from the University of Georgia (USA) and has a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in International Relations from Odesa I.I. Mechnykov National University (Ukraine). 


ACONA Fellowship Term: October 2023 to June 2024

Tynchtykbek Israiilov.jpg

Tynchtykbek Israiilov

Project Manager, OSCE

Tynchtykbek is an experienced professional in the field of multilateral diplomacy, arms control, Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), and border security and management. He has successfully managed numerous projects in these areas, demonstrating his expertise and commitment to international peace and security. Tynchtykbek's contributions extend beyond project management, as he has also shared his knowledge and insights through presentations at various international, regional, and national events. Tynchtykbek holds a Master's degree in Politics and Security from the OSCE Academy in Bishkek. His research interests include international security, regional cooperation, and arms control.

ACONA Fellowship Term: July 2023 to June 2024


Maryna Karlevits

Foreign Policy Advisor to the Member of the Parliament of Ukraine

Maryna is currently a foreign policy advisor to Ukraine’s MP, focusing on developing and executing strategies and communication with foreign counterparts. She also assists the MP in his activities at PACE. Previously, Maryna held positions as the head of international cooperation and communications and the head of analytics at the Diplomatic Academy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. Her areas of expertise lie in international security, specifically nuclear non-proliferation and Chinese foreign policy. Additionally, she has a keen interest in international law concerning Russian aggression against Ukraine. Maryna holds a Master’s degree in international relations and political science.

ACONA Fellowship Term: July 2023 to September 2023

내사진 21.JPG

HyunJung Kim

Research Fellow, Institute for National Security Strategy

HyunJung (Henry) Kim is a research fellow in the Emerging Security Department at the Institute of National Security Strategy (INSS), the premier national think-tank in South Korea supporting the South Korean government with policy proposals for diplomacy, national security, and unification.  He earned his PhD in Biodefense at George Mason University (Virginia, USA). His work primarily focuses on the use of unapproved medical countermeasures in response to public health emergencies as well as the historical study of bio-chemical warfare. He holds a Master’s in National Security Studies from California State University, San Bernardino, and Bachelor’s Degrees in Sociology and Public Administration from Korea University. He additionally served as an intelligence officer in the Republic of Korea (ROK) Army.

ACONA Fellowship Term: July 2023 to June 2024


Ekaterina Mikhalevich

PhD graduate, Saint Petersburg State University

Ekaterina Mikhalevich is a PhD Candidate at the International Relations Department, Saint Petersburg State University. She is a participant of visits to NATO Headquarters (Brussels, Belgium) and Headquarters of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe SHAPE (Mons, Belgium). She is a participant of the grant project ‘Malicious use of Artificial Intelligence and Challenges for Psychological Security in Northeast Asia’, funded by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences.

ACONA Fellowship Term: July 2023 to June 2024

Milana Ozerina photo.jpg

Milana Ozerina

Independent Researcher

Milana is an independent researcher on the topics of small modular reactors, generation IV nuclear energy systems, nuclear security, and non-proliferation. Before that, for 3,5 years she served as a Specialist for International Activities at Rosatom Technical Academy. She has been involved in the management of educational and training activities for countries embarking on nuclear power programmes, processing, evaluating, and visualizing nuclear field-related data, and preparing analytic reports on the IAEA safeguards. Milana holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in International Scientific and Technological Cooperation from the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI. Since November 2020, Milana has been the Coordinator for Eastern Europe at the CTBTO Youth Group. Since April 2024, she has acted as a Secretary of the Nuclear Energy and Technology Youth Expert Group at the BRICS Youth Energy Agency. 

ACONA Fellowship Term: July 2023 to June 2024

Pirnavskaia photo.jpg

Kseniia Pirnavskaia

Research Consultant, Open Nuclear Network (ONN)

Kseniia Pirnavskaia is an Open Nuclear Network (ONN) Research Consultant, Austria, and a NEREC research assistant, ROK. Prior she interned at the CTBTO, VCDNP, PIR Center, and KPC4IR. Kseniia leads International Student Young Pugwash and CTBTO Youth Group. She also produces her own educational Youtube show, "Nuclear Pep Talk.” Kseniia is an ICAN Emerging Eastern and Central European Researcher on Disarmament. Her research interests include the humanitarian consequences of nuclear testing, nuclear justice, and nuclear diplomacy. She holds a BA in International Scientific and Technological Cooperation from MEPhI, Russia, and MSc in Science and Technology Policy from KAIST, ROK.

ACONA Fellowship Term: July 2023 to June 2024

Haleema Saadia.jpg

Haleema Saadia

PhD Candidate, National University of Science and Technology (NUST)

Haleema Saadia is a doctoral candidate at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Pakistan, where she is focusing on Pakistan’s nuclear discourse and identity construction. She has worked at Pakistan’s Strategic Plans Division (SPD) where she conducted arms control policy analysis. She is currently a South Asia Visiting Fellow at The Stimson Center and a Research Fellow at the ROADS Initiative, Pakistan. She was a Visiting Fellow at the Sandia National Laboratories and James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, US. She has taught at the National University of Modern Languages (NUML). She was awarded Chancellor’s Medal by the President of Pakistan and Vice-Chancellor’s Medal by Quaid-i-Azam University in recognition of her academic credentials.

ACONA Fellowship Term: July 2023 to June 2024

000844_edited-103 - Copy.jpg

Jonas Sandbrink

Biosecurity Researcher, University of Oxford

Jonas Sandbrink is a biosecurity researcher at the University of Oxford and a Biological Security Advisor at the UK Cabinet Office. His current work focuses on the implications of synthetic biology and artificial intelligence for biological security risks. Previously, Jonas has worked with the Future of Humanity Institute, Google DeepMind, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, and the German Parliament. He was an Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and an Ending Bioweapons Fellow at the Council on Strategic Risks. He holds a Bachelor in Medical Sciences and is pursuing a DPhil (PhD) at Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford.

ACONA Fellowship Term: July 2023 to June 2024

Anna-Elisabeth Schmitz_.jpg

Anna-Elisabeth Schmitz

Senior Research Associate, German Parliament

Anna-Elisabeth is a foreign policy professional with a focus on international security and conflict resolution. She is currently a senior research associate for Dr. Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, chairwoman of the German Parliament’s Defense Committee. Anna-Elisabeth obtained a B.A. in History and English & American Studies and a B.A. in Journalism and Public Relations. She also holds an M.S. in Global Studies and International Relations with a concentration in Conflict Resolution and a Ph.D. in Political Science. Anna-Elisabeth is a Fulbright alumna.

ACONA Fellowship Term: July 2023 to June 2024

Screen Shot 2023-08-01 at 2.40.20 PM.png

Loïc Simonet

Austrian Institute for International Affairs

Loïc Simonet (PhD) started his career at the French Defence Ministry in Paris. In 2008, he was appointed Politico-Military Counsellor of the French Permanent Representation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna. In 2013, he joined the Secretariat of the OSCE as Senior External Co-operation Officer. In this capacity, he liaised with the European Union and NATO. Since 2021, L. Simonet serves as a Researcher in the Austrian Institute for International Affairs (Oiip).

ACONA Fellowship Term: July 2023 to June 2024


Karina Touzinsky

Deputy Chief, U.S. Department of Defense

Karina Touzinsky is a military policy professional specializing in arms control and weapons of mass destruction.  She is the Deputy Chief for the U.S. European Command's Weapons of Mass Destruction Division, responsible for Countering WMD (CWMD) programs, arms control, nuclear surety, policy, and strategy.  Karina is also a current CWMD fellow with the U.S. National Defense University and, previously, a Nuclear Scholar Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a two-time fellow with the Non-Proliferation Education Center.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from James Madison University and a master’s in Global Security from Johns Hopkins University.

ACONA Fellowship Term: July 2023 to June 2024


Ian Fleming Zhou

 PhD Candidate, University of Pretoria

Ian is a PhD candidate at the University of Pretoria. His research is on the efficacy of economic sanctions on North Korea’s nuclear program. His areas of specialization are nuclear diplomacy, nonproliferation, arms control & disarmament. He was previously a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) - Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS) research fellow. In his tenure as a fellow he researched on why Non-Annex 2 states have not ratified or joined the treaty and how they can be persuaded to join the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). He is currently an executive board member of BASIC's Emerging Voices Network (EVN) and a fellow for the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique's Ballistic Missiles Non-Proliferation Youth Group. Ian holds an MA in International Politics (graduated cum laude), a BA honors in International Politics and a BA International Relations and Diplomacy all from the University of South Africa.

ACONA Fellowship Term: July 2023 to June 2024

bottom of page